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Festival showcases University of York’s research

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Join us at York Festival of Ideas as we showcase some of the innovative research that University of York researchers are leading on – and which is contributing to solving some of the world’s most intractable problems or simply helping us to understand the world we live in. Ranked in the top ten of UK higher education institutions for research that has a positive impact, the University’s work is focused around seven research themes. These align York’s academic strengths to best meet the grand scientific, social and environmental challenges of our time.

From recreating the past by digital modelling and augmented reality, to exploring the origin and symptoms of infectious diseases, come along and find out about the life-changing research being carried out at the University of York. All our Festival events present research in an accessible and engaging way.


A Comedy of Us Jews In 1940, Jac Weinstein, a member of the Helsinki Jewish Community, wrote a light-hearted musical cabaret sketch about a Jewish clothing merchant who falls in love with a mannequin he has ordered from Paris.  The only reference to the war then raging in Europe – a war Finland would join just half a year later – is a brief mention of the bombing of Paris. The sketch is brought to life under the AHRC-funded project, Performing the Jewish Archive. Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 June

The Brain in Performance: Workshop Take part in a live music looping workshop and learn about the connection of experimental music performance and basic computer programming using biosensors and multimedia technology. The event, presented by York postgraduate researchers, offers a platform to explore how the brain can be used as ‘another limb’ in live music performance. Thursday 15 June

Culture and communication

Real and Unreal: Recreating a lost past Learn about the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture’s cutting-edge work with cathedrals and other clients to recreate the lost past by digital modelling and augmented reality. Thursday 15 June

Nothingness, Emptiness and Absences Philosopher Tom Stoneham and art historian Michael White introduce you to the strange world of nothingness. Tom’s research includes investigations of the possibility that there is nothing rather than something and the tangibility of shadows, while Michael’s research focuses on abstract art and avant-garde practice in which voids, emptiness and absence feature strongly. Wednesday 14 June

Environmental sustainability and resilience

Fish ‘n’ Ships: Fishing through time Join archaeologists, historians and ecologists to discuss how humans have interacted with fish in the past and what that means for our future. The event includes fish related activities suitable for all the family. Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June

Beginnings of Life: Campus wildlife tour Gordon Eastham, the University’s Grounds Maintenance Manager, and Rachel Pateman of the Stockholm Environment Institute, lead a guided tour of the University’s Campus East. Hear the story of its development for wildlife since its beginnings in 2008 and learn about the many plants and animals that now call this their home. Saturday 17 June

Health and wellbeing

Zombies in York Through this interactive workshop, our researchers communicate science in an accessible and creative way. Children learn about the origin and symptoms of infectious diseases and how scientific discovery has made it possible to diagnose and treat different diseases. Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June

Susan Aldworth: The Dark Self exhibition Susan Aldworth, the University’s Wellcome Artist in Residence, presents an exhibition exploring the mystery of what happens to the ‘self’ during deep sleep. Featuring prints, an installation, moving image and sculptures, it brings together art and science in a unique way. Wednesday 7 June to Sunday 3 September

Justice and equality

Spectacular Justice Ruth Penfold-Mounce and PhD student Rosie Smith of the Department of Sociology examine high profile criminal cases including those of Oscar Pistorius and Jodi Arias, and investigate the effects of media coverage. Has the media and television replaced the wooden gallows? Friday 9 June

Remembering Ourselves in Our Struggle Join filmmakers as they explore the reflections and emotions of human rights defenders at risk in Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya and Indonesia through three short films and a discussion. The short films were produced as part of the research project ‘Navigating Risk, Managing Security, and Receiving Support’ carried out by York’s Centre for Applied Human Rights. Wednesday 14 June

Risk, evidence and decision making

Technology for All? A story of bias in design Find out how seemingly neutral technologies or infrastructures have been - consciously or not - designed to favour certain types of users and the consequences this has for society as a whole. Tuesday 13 June

Technologies for the future

The Story of Science Discover the story of science through the lens of microscopes and telescopes.Learn about the leaps in technology that have allowed us to see down to the nanoscale and find out what the future is likely to bring with the newest space telescopes. Thursday 15 June

Science out of the Lab Find out about the exciting research being carried out in York as scientists come out of the lab and onto the city’s streets to demonstrate their work. Take part in edible experiments, see your own brainwaves in real time or find out about nuclear physics using Lego. York scientists from departments including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Archaeology, the Digital Creativity Labs and the Hull York Medical School, will explain how their work is improving the world we live in. Friday 2 and Saturday 3 June

Explore the University of York’s research themes

Other events featuring York researchers or students, or brought to you by University of York staff, include:

Anne Frank: A history for today exhibition Monday 5 June to Sunday 11 June

Fragments of the Medieval World Exhibition Throughout the Festival

People in Changing Places: Images from Urbanising Asia Throughout the Festival

Susan Aldworth: The Dark Self Tuesday 6 June

William Morris and the Politics of Pots Tuesday 6 June

Puzzles in the Pub Wednesday 7 June

Alcuin and the Anglo-Saxon Riddle Tradition Wednesday 7 June

What Matters in Austen? Thursday 8 June

Middle East Art in the Museum: The stories we tell Thursday 8 June

The Enduring Appeal of Jane Austen Thursday 8 June

England’s Earliest Coinage: The York gold shilling Friday 9 June

Democracy under Threat? Focus Day Saturday 10 June

Festival Fringe Family Fun Afternoon Saturday 10 June

Early Northumbrian Coinage and Eadberht’s Beast Saturday10 June

Small Finds and Stories That Matter Saturday 10 June

Traces of Sound and Light Saturday 10 June

Road to Freedom Saturday 10 June

The Poetry of Plants Sunday 11 June

Objects, Stories and the Makings of Military Memory Monday 12 June

A Market of Nice Things Monday 12 June

A Walk through the Lost Centuries: Anglian York Monday 12 June

Higher Education’s Next Chapter Monday 12 June

Istanbul: The story of a city from Roman Times to the Ottoman conquest Monday 12 June

For What It’s Worth Monday 12 June

Stories Against the Clock Tuesday 13 June

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran: A masterclass Tuesday 13 June

The Story of Stories Wednesday 14 June

Young Minds: Mental Health Challenges Wednesday 14 June

The Stories Behind Our Favourite Things Wednesday 14 June

University Choir and Symphony Orchestra Wednesday 14 June

Beer and Beowulf: The poetry of things Wednesday 14 June

John Dryden: Amphitryon; Or, The Two Sosias Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 June

The Story of the Ardabil Carpet Thursday 15 June

The Brain in Performance Thursday 15 June

Sergeant Pepper: Playing with Words Thursday 15 June

The Future of Work Focus Day Friday 16 June

Conflict, Peace and Security in Africa Friday 16 June

EborObjects: A York story in things Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June

Viking Saga Saturday Saturday 17 June

LUMA Film Festival Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June

The Origins of Art Saturday 17 June

Refugees Welcome Saturday 17 June

Anglo-Saxon Crafts Saturday 17 June

Decoding the Dark Ages Saturday 17 June

Anglo-Saxon Bread: Making and meaning Saturday 17 June 

Exploring the Dark Self Saturday 17 June 

The Archaeology of Eoforwic Saturday 17 June

Books as Instruments of Change Saturday 17 June

The Story of a Book Saturday 17 June

No Ideas But in Things: A writing workshop Sunday 18 June

Children, Conflict and the Art(s) of Hope Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June